Death toll rises to five confirmed cases of monkeypox in Quebec

Emily Bergeron, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – Three more cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in Quebec, for a total of five cases as of Friday.

This is what the Ministry of Health said on Twitter.

Earlier on Friday, the chief federal public health official, Dr. Theresa Tam, said dozens of other suspected monkeypox cases in Canada had come mainly from Quebec.

This week, authorities in Massachusetts reported a case of monkeypox in a man who had resided in Montreal.

Among other possible cases not yet confirmed across the country, Dr Tam said many contacts in British Columbia are being closely monitored.

“We don’t really know how widespread it has been in Canada,” she said, adding that she expected more cases to be confirmed on Friday or in the following days.

Currently, all cases of this disease, whose symptoms include blisters and fever, have been validated at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

Dr. Tam said discussions are underway among the network of labs across the country to find out how to increase diagnostic capacity in other locations.

Canada’s Deputy Public Health Officer Dr Howard Ngo has raised the possibility of prioritizing provinces that are larger and those with better technological capabilities, although it is too early to say which ones.

“It’s really a technical discussion with our (national) lab and regional and regional labs. (…) It’s work that will continue in the coming days and weeks.

He stressed the importance of educating the population and health professionals at present about symptoms so that sample examinations can be conducted when necessary.

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As for whether smallpox vaccines would be used against monkeypox, Dr. Ngo gave no details except to say the issue is under discussion with her Quebec counterparts.

“At the moment, we have a few doses (in the bank) and are always ready,” he said, adding that it was too early to say what supply needs were.

Dr. pointed out. Tam indicated that discussions on the matter are taking place with all governorates and at the international level.

“Essentially, there haven’t been any clinical trials of these vaccines against monkeypox to speak of, but I think based on what we know so far, they could be used,” she noted, noting that one particular vaccine would be more appropriate than others.

Dr. Ngo also insisted that great efforts be made to update the guidelines for the use of this vaccine according to the potential new use context.

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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